(Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (C) receives a blessing from Pastor Dennis E. Terry, Sr. (L) after being interviewed by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (R) at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana March 18, 2012. REUTERS/Sean Gardner )

Americans are increasingly uneasy with the mingling of religion and politics, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, in the midst of a campaign season punctuated by tussles over the role of faith in the public square.

Back in 2001, when Pew first asked the question, just 12 percent of Americans complained that their politicians talked too much about religion.

That number has risen steadily ever since and hit a record high in the new poll: 38 percent of Americans, including 24 percent of Republicans, now say their political leaders are overdoing it with their expressions of faith and prayer.

And more Americans than ever, 54 percent, believe churches should keep out of politics. That’s up from 43 percent in 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.